Today marks the 60th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights (EC HR) coming into force. Ireland was one of the original signatories of the ECHR in 1950, and one of the first states parties to recognise the jurisdiction of the (now overburdened) European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The history of the Convention, the Court and the cases and principles of law that have been developed and decided upon have been well covered in a number of significant texts (see here, here, here, here and here).
In June 2013, UCD Human Rights Network hosted a conference, organised by Suzanne Egan, Judy Walsh and I, on The ECHR and Ireland: 60 Years and Beyond. My paper ” Seasca Bhlian Faoi Bláth (60 Years A-Growing): Socio-Economic Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights” examined the emergence and development of the ECHR as a protector of social and economic rights. While the ECHR is generally seen as protecting civil and political rights, with the exception of property rights, in the last number of decades a soft consensus is emerging from the ECtHR that such a distinction between both sets of rights is not warranted. The first significant suggestion that the Convention may be able to protect, to some degree, socio-economic rights, was made by the ECtHR in Airey v Ireland (for a background to this case, see here). Ireland stated that Airey was seeking to enforce a socio-economic right to legal aid and the ECHR should not be interpreted Continue reading “The European Convention on Human Rights at 60 & Socio-Economic Rights”